From Frights to Flaws

Children - Fantasy/Sci-Fi
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 07/10/2018
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

From Frights to Flaws: Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions: Book 1 is a fantasy novel for children and preteens written by Sunayna Prasad. Life had gotten very dreary for Alyssa and her cousin, Hailey. When Alyssa’s parents died in a car crash five years earlier, a life with Hailey and her aunt and uncle seemed a welcome respite after the loss. They formed a close and loving bond. But the tragedy of her aunt’s death two years later did something to her uncle. He had become a harsh and demanding disciplinarian and had taken the two girls out of school to be home-schooled instead. Their babysitter, Mrs. Hutchinson, treated them like her own personal Cinderellas as she supervised the endless chores she assigned them. Mopping floors, washing dishes and vacuuming the rugs took up time they might have spent playing or learning. But something strange and wonderful happened one day as Alyssa stared out the window at the raindrops which had suddenly, unexpectedly, turned black and began to form letters on the window pane. They read: "Your life will never be the same, Alyssa McCarthy, as magic will interfere."

Sunayna Prasad’s fantasy novel for children and preteens, From Frights to Flaws: Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions: Book 1 is a fast-paced and exciting adventure tale that follows the orphaned girl as she tries to understand how her very sheltered life in a New Jersey suburb could change so entirely. I loved seeing the Fiji Islands through Alyssa’s eyes and experiencing with her the challenges of her adventure. Prasad’s plot is well-developed and her characters are finely honed and credible. From Frights to Flaws: Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions: Book 1 is highly recommended.

Romuald Dzemo

From Frights to Flaws by Sunayna Prasad is the opening book in the Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions series, featuring magic, adventure, and exciting worlds with dangerous creatures. Meet twelve-year-old Alyssa, bored and disenchanted and living in her uncle’s house. But then she learns about a wizard hunting her down. He will create a storm and wait until there is no one to protect Alyssa, and then kidnap her and bring her to the Fiji Islands. She will have to figure out why a sinister wizard is after her and determine how to escape from him. But with sorcerers poised against her and a shield keeping her away from the outside world, can she make it?

The excellent writing style allows nature to reflect the mood and state of mind of the characters, and adds to the beauty of the narrative. At the beginning of the story, readers encounter the young protagonist in a sad mood, with the sound of rain on the window. This literary device comes across beautifully as the protagonist reflects on the long gone days of family fun and sweets. But she knows that life can’t be better; it’s as dull as the raindrops on the windowsill. This melancholy that invades the soul of the young girl already tells the reader that she is no ordinary child. She is born of magic and she will awaken to her real magical nature. Then her life will become exciting.

This is a delightful story and I enjoyed the fact that the protagonist discovers her powers progressively. At the beginning of the story, she is naïve, detesting her uncle and feeling bored. But then the challenges that come along with the kidnapping make her grow faster and learn to look after herself. The reader begins to root for her, wanting her to come out of the journey maturer, wiser, and more powerful. The setting is great and relationships are well established. Sunayna Prasad’s novel features excellent writing, filled with great dialogues, strong plot lines and a skillfully handled conflict. The world building is awesome, and handled through writing that is atmospheric and at times evocative. This is a tale of courage and adventure, packed with lessons on personal development for young readers.